tv This Is Life With Lisa Ling CNN October 1, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com why do so many of us have trouble talking about sex? or being open and honest about our bodies, when it's the most natural thing. >> deficiencies in your sex life affect every single aspect in your life. >> so many people have deep-seated shame, secrecy and inhibitions, whether single, in a relationship or married. >> although love is there except for below the waist. and it's driving me nuts. something needs to give. help.
>> who do we turn to when we have trouble with our sex lives? >> we're stripping away the layers of guilt and shame. >> tonight i'm on a journey to explore two unusual approaches to sexual healing with two very different women. >> may i put my cheek against your cheek? >> yes, you may. >> what most people want more than anything is to experience meaningful connection with others, to love and be loved. >> are you ready for this exercise? >> yeah. yes, i am. >> but it starts by getting comfortable with ourselves. >> let's take off our clothes. >> and as it turns out, even i could use a little help learning to love my own body. >> kind of makes me feel like getting naked. >> yes, please. ♪
♪ 38-year-old jennifer and 34-year-old ricky seem like any typical loving couple. jennifer is a yoga teacher and ricky is retired from the marines and training to be a bodyguard. >> forward and back. >> when they married three years ago, ricky didn't think twice about jumping into the role of step-dad for jennifer's 9-year-old son, mason, born with special needs. >> he is this beautiful, beautiful child that has taught everybody around him love and
patience. >> kind of like in a way i grew up with a stutter, i was bullied. i felt it was my obligation to protect him and teach him things. i'll push you some more. there you go. forward and back. >> he's been a big focal point in our relationship. there's a lot of care that goes into him. it's a little bit extra. >> ricky and jennifer have a great marriage. they love their child, and they're still in love with each other. there's just one thing. like an estimated 15 to 20% of all married couples, the fire has gone out. >> every three months or so i just have this freakout of can we talk about this? can we deal with this? all the love is there except for below the waist. it's driving me nuts. like it really is. >> how is the sporadic intimacy affected you? >> i've gotten very insecure like why even try to initiate anything when i'm going to get rejected.
ricky would be tired or there was absolutely no response like physically at all. just like touching a rock. >> and ricky, what do you think is reason for the kind of lack of intimacy has been? >> to be perfectly honest, all men watch porn. you know, you watch that. so i felt very self-conscious. i mean, am i big enough for her? will i give hean orgasm? >> jennifer, have you felt rejected? >> yes. big time. on every level. just like the deepest form of rejection possible. i feel like this fire that i've had, this -- i am going to cry. but just like the sensual passion and like this fire has kind of fizzled out for me. i feel like it's affected a lot of my life. obviously, i'm not pretty enough, i'm not sexy enough. am i not like young enough? like everything in the book that
i could possibly think of, it definitely just went poof down. >> when i hear her talk about how insecure she has felt, how does that make you feel? >> deep down inside, show i be having sex more with my wife? of course. it makes her cry, it bothers you. it bothers her. how did i allow that to happen? how did i not see that even though she was telling me at the top of her lungs sometimes. >> i want the whole enchilada. i do. i want the whole enchilada. we've got the partner thing and the mom and dad thing. why can't we have the sex? >> many couples find themselves asking the same question. and some are finding that they might need some sexual healing. first of all, i want to say it's a big deal that you both showed up today because most couples kind of just numb everything in silence. so how often do you have sex? >> once a month maybe. >> if it happens a lot, it's
what maybe twice a week, but twice a week, then there will be nothing for a month orive weeks. >> or three months. >> relationship guru psalm isadora is an expert in tantra. a hindu and buddhist form of meditation used to connect man and women with each other and human fi with the divine. she spent years in india studying this ancient practice. >> there was a time prechristianity that sexuality and sex itself was normal and something to be worshiped. people go into temples and they're worshiping the penis and worshiping the vagina. it blew my mind coming from a very western background that, wow, i don't have to be ashamed about sex. it's actually the most beautiful revered thing, and that having sex can be like praying with another person. >> so what are the key fundamentals of tantra? >> if there's one tenet of
tantra i want people to understand is stop having shame around sexuality. and then, number two, learning how to tap into the natural erotic energy, and that awakens that erotic energy and gives you permission to be an erotic being. >> psalm has a mission, to share tantra's benefits with jennifer and ricky to help them think differently about sex and their own sexuality. >> so of course in the scope of a long-term relationship especially if you have kids in stead of facing each other, you are standing side by side and facing the world to protect your child. we want to get you out of that mother role and into the erotic role again for you. >> to help reconnect the couple spiritually, psalm guides them through a basic but powerful form of tantra. >> we're going to stop talking and start feeling.
get back in your body. so both of you put your right hand over each other's heart and then put your left hand over your partner's hand. you're holding each other's hearts. i want you to look into your partner's eyes. the eyes are the windows to the soul. jennifer, i want you to really receive ricky's feeling of caring about you. i want you to receive that you're beautiful regardless of whether somebody is sexually desiring you at the moment. are you beautiful anyway? do you love yourself anyway? >> for jennifer and ricky, it's a reminder to embrace each other as intimate partners, not just as parents raising a child. psalm takes the exercise deeper with closer physical contact. >> so if this was the full erotic version, he would be inside you right now. so you would feel a connection
moving up to the heart, and you're also connecting with your eyes. everything you've known disappears and just be here with each other and worship each other's bodies. there's so many men in our world right now that get their sexual release through porn and they can't eroticize their wife. let go of the years of programming that as a man i can't have sex with a woman i love. you can lose your yourself in that sexual experience and this woman can still be there for you and love you and your connon can be that deep. >>he session ends with one more exercise for ricky and jennifer to try later in the privacy of their own home. >> take a little bit of this coconut oil. we're stripping away the layers of guilt and shame and having this very deep and beautiful sexual healing by saying sex is beauty, sex is worship, sex is love and connection.
just feel total permission and pleasure and go ah. feel that exchange of love instead of judgment, separation. you feel now connection and intimacy. and that's that sexual healing. >> how do you feel, jennifer? >> i feel like a goddess. >> i really admire the step that ricky and jen are taking. i mean, what they've been experiencing is what so many couples are dealing with. let's put it this way. i've been married ten years and i'm very curious to know if this stuff is going to work. you know who likes to be
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i want you to put one hand on your thro and one hand on your belly. >> to continue my education in sexual healingtoday i'm sitting in on something different with psalm isadora, a tantra workshop. i'm surrounded by 15 other women all here for the same reason -- they want more out of their sex lives. >> one of the biggest issues when i work with women is they've been taught not to feel how sensual and beautiful their bodies are, and this feeling is what makes you sexy. >> remember, tantra isn't just about having sex, it's tapping into the sexual energy as the power that runs your life. now we're going to move to the breath of arousal. this is going to build up all that fire and that juicy heat in
your body that we call shakti. reworking your nervous system so you can have more pleasure. tap into your own sexuality. a lot of women are always looking for approval from everyone else. does that guy think you're attractive. does everyone else think you're attractive. i need you to find within yourself your own relationship. you have been taught to disconnect from your vagina. we are reconnecting where you have been disconnected. this is like praying. you pray from your own body, from your own empowerment which for women is your sexual energy. >> psalm tells me that people can feel disconnected from their sexuality for a variety of reasons, from conservative family upbringings to overall stressful jobs to abuse or sexual trauma. 54-year-old celia attributing feeling uncomfortable with her own body to something that happened when she was a child. >> i want you to describe when is the first time you felt this pain. inhale, breathe into that
feeling of pain or discomfort. >> it's the summer after i finished grade seven. >> mm-hmm. how old are you? >> i 12. he's 19. >> so he's 19. >> mm-hmm. >> and he started making out with you at 12. did he initiate that or you? >> he did. >> the shame for celia began when other kids found out that an older boy had been paying attention to her. >> what did they say? what words did they say? because your body has those words locked here where you're numb. >> slut. >> say that again. >> slut. >> you know why it's numb and gray. you had to protect yourself from people calling you slut. but it got locked here. you don't want to think or feel that. so you avoid that pain so you shut down the ability to feel here. when they called you a slut you felt -- >> dirty. >> okay. inhale. breathe that in. exhale. let it go. tantra and sexual healing for me, i have a full menu.
people come in and i want to have better orgasms. but for some people they really want to go to the deepest level of what i call their sex root. and for the women in this workshop, a lot of them it's affected their choices in their marriages, their self-esteem or it affects everything. most therapy that we do is very much on the surface because we culture.ve a sexual healing as a imagine one of those girls was standing in front of you, what would you say? >> i'm not a slut. >> celia's a slut. >> i'm not a slut. >> celia's a slut. >> -- off. [ laughter ] >> what do you say to him. open your eyes and look at me and pretend what do you say to him? >> you're an [ bleep ] and you should have kept your finger out of my vagina. then you shouldn't have put your penis there either. you ruined years of pleasure in my life. >> breathe that in.
so because he put his penis inside you at 12 years old, you internalized that and thought it was your fault instead of saying the person in the position of power should have held the boundary. >> you shared such an intimate story downstairs. what did you think of sex before you started this journey? >> i was married for 27 years without experiencing an orgasm, even watching a movie where there was a sex scene would just make me cringe in pain and shame. that i couldn't even watch it. because i couldn't figure out why that couldn't be possible for me. >> how did it feel to unleash that almost demon that was inside of you for so long? >> amazing. i wouldn't want anybody to have to hide what i had for so long. >> do you think you're a sexual person now? >> yes. yes, i do.
and i know my body's not broken. yea! >> so when we do this sound breath again, it's going to help you break that barrier of not just sexual expression but expression of being able to talk to people, ask for what you want in life, not just in the bedroom. it will increase your confidence in everything that you do in your life. it's all connected. so inhale, raise your arms and exhale. ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. and pull that energy down. so if you feel tired, then pray harder. this is you praying. god, give me the energy to get through my day. >> ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. >> and let go of everything. and you're pulling that power down. pull down. pull that orgasm down. >> yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. >> an orgasm with god. >> nobody is coming to save you. you have to get it for yourself.
we all want us to have empowered vaginas. yes, yes, yes. >> yes, yes, yes. >> double time. >> yes, yes, yes. >> and break. okay. arms to the sky. keep your eyes closed. don't give your energy away. i want you to feel the power in yourself for yourself. people always say with tantra, i don't have a partner. do you have a vagina? you better learn how to use it. when you do have a partner, you're coming from an empowered place. >> psalm teaches sexual empowerment, but another form of sexual healing takes a different approach. >> how are you feeling? >> i want to feel your palms on my cheeks is especially pleasurable. hey, how's it going? um... who are you? i'm val. the orange money retirement squirrel from voya.
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my clients and being sexual with my clients. >> like psalm, emiko's work is all about sexual healing, but her methods are entirely different. emiko is a surrogate partner and her work is highly controversial. what is a surrogate partner? >> so a surrogate partner is part of a therapeutic process. you have a therapist, a surrogate partner and a client. usually the way it works is a therapist has a client who has intimacy issues and they bring me on and i actually develop real intimate, physical and emotional relationships with my clients. >> is there a typical profile of your clients? >> most people see me because they believe that something's wrong with the way that they function. then i get people who have a history of sexual abuse. so there's really a variety of reasons why people come to see me. >> there are some who say that what you do is sex work.
>> mm-hmm. >> how do you respond to that? >> there are a few differences. one is that we're always working with a therapist and the intentions are very different. so as opposed to this work being about entertainment, being about sexual gratification, this is about healing, this is about a therapeutic relationship, but yeah, this is also about sex. >> while it's not sanctioned in many places around the country, a professional organization certifies and sets standards for surrogates like emiko who always works in concert with a talk therapist. >> he shared with me about he felt about the exercises he did with you and about the fears of his touch being repulsive. >> next time i work with him, we'll do more of the face caress and the may i will you game so he gets more comfortable with that. >> today she has a session with a client named keith who she's been working with for nearly
three months. >> make this session be in harmony with keith's feeling. may he feel grounded, strong and safe. >> at 60, keith has never had a serious long-term girlfriend, and there's a reason for that. how would you describe your childhood? >> it's painful. it wasn't easy. i'm totally in survival mode. >> what was going on in your home? >> abuse as far back as i can remember, even 3 years old. physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, extreme neglect. >> at age 25, keith began working with a talk therapist. and slowly over the course of 35 years he's made progress. but fear of intimacy still holds him back. recently, his therapist suggested he try a unique approach to healing, one that sometimes involves sex.
had you ever heard of anything like that before? >> vaguely, yeah. i didn't have much of an idea. i did have to come home and do a lot of research, yeah. because it scared me. >> so you weren't into it, initially? >> oh, my gosh, no, i was terrified. i knew this would really require me to take some risks and get close to someone in an intimate way. even just a hug. >> what propelled you to go forward and do it? >> i kept thinking about how lonely i was and how much i really wanted a deep emotional connection. >> for keith, sexual intimacy is indeed a long-term goal, but that's way down the road. >> can i give you a hug? >> first, he must learn to find comfort in the simplest forms of touch with another human being. >> hi. how are you doing? yea. i'm so glad to hear that. may i put my hand on you? >> yes, you may. thank you. >> yeah. let's take a couple deep breaths into our bellies.
ah. letting the body just kind of sink in. feeling our hands connected. >> mindful of the years of abuse keith endured during his childhood, emiko takes a slow and patient approach to their sessions together. >> while her work with clients can sometimes lead to actually having sex, with keith, she takes baby steps. >> so the purpose of this exercise is for you to just really enjoy. i will let you know if anything feels uncomfortable. >> okay. >> and just relax and have fun. >> yes. may i touch your face? >> yes, you may. >> for keith, learning that touch can be kind, loving and gentle has been a struggle. it's taken him three long months of work with emiko to get comfortable with the idea of touching and being touched.
>> how are you doing, keith? >> doing really well. amazing to feel all the different textures and temperatures and contours. would you please describe what it feels like to you? >> it all felt amazing. there were moments where your hand was on my cheek and i just kind of wanted to sink in, you know. but most i was just really experiencing the touch and it felt so good. >> i needed to hear from emiko that my touch felt pleasurable to her. i was afraid that my touch would feel to my partner the way my parents' touch felt to me. >> it felt good to be touched, but for you really it was knowing that your touch was not a dangerous touch. >> yes. it was an enormous relief to hear that my touch was pleasurable and gentle and kind and that she really enjoyed it. that's been one of the most healing things. >> there are all different types
of touch. often they're able to relax more knowing that the other person is really just enjoying it for themself, right? the both of us just allowing us to experience good sensation. this is totally for you. yeah. so keith, may i have your permission to touch your face and head? >> yes, you may. >> thank you. >> why do you think touch is so important? >> oh, gosh, no different than food or air or water, we all need touch to nurture ourselves. it's a part of who we are. but healthy touch. >> and how are you feeling? >> very safe, very nurtured. i really sunk into it and was
able to joy the touch and the pleasure, the warmth of your palms on my cheeks was especially pleasurable. >> that's great. >> will you touch my hair? >> yes. >> this is kind of a strange question, keith, but when you're with emiko, do you feel like a child in some ways? >> the nurturing that i didn't get is being fulfilled. i'm getting what i missed. >> do you actually feel yourself being healed? >> oh, my gosh, yes. i'm so much more than i was four months ago. i'm so much more out in the open. the world feels safer because of my work with her. >> may i put my cheek against your cheek? >> yes, you may. we just got to take it one game at a time. next question. odell. odell.
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27-year-old justin is no different. but justin has an added challenge. he was born with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that he's worked hard all his life to overcome. >> it affects all my muscles it affects my walking and talking ability. i don't like being defined as having a disability, but sadly people use that to define me. >> like many men in their 20s, justin is looking for love. >> i never really wanted sex. i wanted, more than anything, just to hold a girl's hand and feel emotionally connected to them. >> do you think that your disability has affected the way girls see you?
>> yes. tremendously. they act like i was someone that they needed to take care of, not someone they could love. >> during his adolescent years while many classmates were experimenting with romance and sex, justin was left on the sidelines. he reached his early 20s never having kissed a girl, holding someone's hand or told someone i love you. but a car doorway to possibility opened when he saw "the sessions." the film introduced audiences to a new kind of therapy. >> do you have any areas of unusual sensitivity? any parts of your body you don't want me to touch? >> i have normal sensitivity all over. you can touch me anywhere. >> after i saw the movie, i realized the surrogate partner in therapy is exactly what i was looking for. >> it was a leap into the juin took a small inheritance from his grandfather, flew from
his home in texas to san francisco and hired emiko. >> are you ready for this exercise? >> yeah. i am. >> let's take off our clothes. get comfortable. let me know if you want a hand. and take your time. mirror exercise is something we do when we're transitioning into being naked with each other. we both get naked and we stand in front of a full-length mirror and i talk about how i feel about my body. then i'll have my client do the same thing. okay. so i'll stand in front of the mirror and tell you what i think about my body. my hair to my toes. >> when you do the mirror exercise, do most people like what they see? >> most people have some criticisms for sure. everybody has something that they don't like. and this can also be a way to bring kindness and love into our bodies.
so here's my body naked. on the whole i feel pretty good about it. i actually got really lucky in terms of my hair. i cut it myself. just get out of the shower, do this, do this and i'm good. so lucky on that front. i like the shape of my eyes, the color i'm not wild about. i actually really like my breasts. i like the size. they're like a handful. you know. not too big, not too small. they are sagging. so pretty much, oh, be a little bit more perky. >> uh-uh. >> but i've gotten used to it. i'm fine with it. yeah. let me think if i missed anything. that's it. are you ready? >> yeah.
i like my hair. i actually hate cutting it, t like i hate long hair. so i cut it on a regular basis. i actually hated my glasses because many people tell me i would look better without them. my teeth, i absolutely hate my teeth but yeah, okay, whatever. i really hate my legs because they are not hairy here but hairy here so like make up your mind. i think penises get a bad rap because people never know how they ought to be.
but i will say i'm a grower and not a shower. so yeah, and that's all i will say. >> that's great. >> that's my body. >> so how did that feel? >> it made me realize that i'm way too critical of my body. >> one thing i learned through my work is everybody has different preferences, right? so you can look in the mirror and say, oh, i hate this about myself. and another person can say that's what i love the most. or i love that about the way that you look. >> yeah. >> that was amazing to watch. and you are so brave. i mean, you're both so brave to do this. when you first took off your clothes, i honestly felt a little emotional, buthen watching you and how confident you are. you, i think, like and feel
confident about more parts of your body than i do. kind of makes me feel like getting naked. >> i love it. you are welcome to. >> just seeing how confident you are right now, just how secure you are right at this moment is pretty amazing. but i'll tell you something, i had a baby three months ago. and i feel so uneasy with my body. my husband has barely seen me naked since i had my baby or even, you know, while i was pregnant. i think i have to do it. >> do it. yeah. right now? >> i think i kind of have to do it right now. >> yes, please. >> i'm telling you, i'm the only person who has seen myself naked in a very long time. >> we got your back. >> yeah. >> okay. take off my mike first. ♪
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we all know that no one is perfect and everyone is different, but let's face it. we all have hang-ups with our bodies. >> i have a very big scar. >> i love scars. >> i'm wearing a nursing bra still. >> but what if we just got naked and got over it? i can't look at myself right now. hopefully i won't start lactating. >> so yeah, just talk about how you feel about different parts of your body. >> i like my hair, and my hair is sometimes kind of a source of security for me. it's easy. i don't like to do anything with it. i don't even like to cut it. it's easy. i need ease in my life. i definitely, definitely started
noticing that i'm not 24 anymore. i definitely see all the lines that are starting to develop. but i'm 43 years old. and it just is what it is. my lips are fine. they're fine. i'm really not liking my breasts right now because i've had a 3-month-old baby sucking on them pretty relentlessly. they used to be kind of perky and now they're not. they just are what they are, though. it's actually kind of amazing to see both of you on both sides of me, actually. and i feel calmer right now. a little emotional still. you know what? even though i've been disliking my breasts, they look okay right now to me.
that's funny because i haven't felt that way and i haven't even liked to look at them. but they actually look okay to me right now. the first time they've kind of i have this line that women get sometimes when they're pregnant. and it takes about a year to go away. i don't even mind my scar because this is where two lives emerged from. i just haven't even wanted to look at my body now after seeing what you guys did and looking at it now and really looking at it, like i feel better about it then. i feel okay. [ laughter ] >> that's so amazing. >> okay. oh my god, i'm naked. >> thank you so much for sharing with us. >> yes, thank you. >> i was watching you both, i just thought these people are so brave to be doing this.
and it's so -- i wasn't even thinking twice about the fact that you were naked. you know? you're just bodies. we're just bodies, you know? and we all have them. and we're all different. and your bodies are beautiful. >> we've got some really amazing beautiful bodies going on right now. yeah, we really do. >> i certainly didn't start my day thinking that i was going to take off all my clothes, but when i watched justin and emiko looking at themselves and so confidently carrying on a conversation without a shred of clothing on, i wanted to feel that way as well. while i felt incredibly nervous and anxious, i just started to think why do we feel this way? these are just our bodies and we're all different. and if we could get past those insecurities about our bodies, we might not need to be sexually healed.
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it's cheap and gets you all the big games. it starts at sixty bucks a month, but jumps to over 100 after 3 months. cool i think? and jumps again to over 150 after a year. noooo... and ends up costing over 3500 bucks over 2 years. you're cleaning that up. don't get caught off guard by directv. touchdown. get the best with xfinity. why do so many of us have so much shame surrounding sex and our bodies even though both are perfectly normal and natural? touch and the desire to feel connected with others is part of what makes us human. >> so at some point would you like to spoon a bit?
>> i wou, yes, very much. >> let's get really super, super, super, super, super comfortable. >> for keith, it's been a long, slow journey, but in his work with emiko, he's made great strides. >> deep breaths. ah. >> at 60 years old, it's taken his entire adult life, but keith has finally experienced the joy of touch. >> all my life it's felt dirty. i was afraid of admitting that i was a sexual and sensual being. now it feels just like a really beautiful loving thing that's necessary. we all need that kind of connection. and without that there's a part of us that's missing. >> back in los angeles, i catch up with jennifer and ricky to see if the tantra homework psalm assigned has helped them reconnect spiritually and sexually. so?
how was your night? >> after we did the whole meditation, hands on the heart, kissing, eyes on the eyes, she got on top. and it felt so amazing. my heart was just like tingling and so like i was on this natural high. and it was the first time i've ever had an orgasm with somebody on top ever. so for that, i was like -- you took my virginity, jen. >> so you only had one session with psalm, but what did you get out of it? >> to give me permission to just be that sensual woman and not feel the shame of liking sex. i do feel transformed. i feel completely empowered. >> so many couples are going through what you've been going through. do you think that this really could help lots of people? >> yes. it can. >> i'm so happy for you. >> thank you very much. >> everybody can have it. i know that they can. i know they can. it's just, i guess, being willing and wanting to be vulnerable.
>> for justin, touching and being touched, being naked and being intimate is about much more than just sex. how did this experience change your life? >> i can look in the mirror now and not hate my body. before i did that with emiko i thought right when i found a girlfriend, i would marry them and that would be it. now i feel like someone is going to be out there for me, and i don't need to settle. there is still times when i don't think i'm dateable. but they don't last very long. >> justin has been actively dating online. >> i do coffee and bagel, i use okcupid and occasionally tinder.
>> i only met justin a few days ago, but when you get naked with someone, you get to know them pretty quickly. and it's clear to me whoever ends up with him in the end is going to be one lucky woman. there are people who don't think this kind of therapy should be permitted. how do you respond to those people? >> they only see sex as being physical. and i think touch goes way beyond physical. for some reason i knew the touch part was the most important thing in my life. >> so to what extent as a culture do you think we need to be sexually healed? >> i think america's super messed up around sex. i think america needs a massive sexual healing an every person, even if they don't need trauma, they need a sexual healing just to love their own bodies and
have sex be that next level of being more beautiful and more connected. with the u.s. government's response to desperate needs in puerto rico under scrutiny, president trump makes a symbolic move, dedicating a golf trophy to hurricane victims. despite violent clashes with police, catalonians claim victory in their controversial vote to become independent from spain. and more than 100,000 people are left far from home as a british airline goes bust. how the uk government plans to bring them home. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. i'm natalie allen. we're live in atlanta, and that is "cnn newsroom." >> this is cnn breaking news.